In the build-up to their rematch at the Manchester Arena in July, Wladimir Klitschko has said that Tyson Fury is "an imbecile champion" whose recent rant about Jewish people was reminiscent of Hitler.
In a video posted on YouTube in May, Fury made a series of controversial comments about rape, bestiality and Judaism. In one segment of the clip, he said: "Zionist, Jewish people ... own all the banks, all the papers, all the TV stations."
Fury has since apologised for his comments in an official statement, after the Campaign Against Antisemitism called for him to be banned for his "offensive and racist remarks" and complained to the British Boxing Board of Control. The video has also been taken down.
Nonetheless, Klitschko has now taken his opponent to task over the anti-Semitic rant, as well as his history of sexist and homophobic remarks. Speaking from his training camp in Austria, Klitschko said: "I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people he sounded like Hitler. The man is an imbecile, seriously. You cannot put it all together as a representation of the sport of boxing. He's an imbecile champion."
Klitschko also echoed calls for Fury to face a ban over his comments. He went on: "It puts the world of boxing in the wrong spot. He represents not just himself, but the sanctioning bodies, a lot of boxing fans in general, it's not just about him and he needs to understand but he obviously doesn't. All the stupidity that comes out of his mouth!
"Especially in this crazy world when we can see all that's going on, we don't need someone having this stage and bringing hate to Jewish people, I can't accept [that]. As I said, he sounds like Hitler, I cannot accept it and I don't accept [it].
"We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or just suspended, because you cannot create more hate. Friction creates friction, the more hate you bring out there – with women, the gay community and Jewish people – what is he going to say next?"
Klitschko claimed he was confident of beating Fury in their rematch on 9 July, despite the fact that the former heavyweight champion is now 40 years old. "It's not just British fans I'll be doing a favour when I beat him, it'll be for Klitschko fans and boxing fans in general," he said. "It's just something we don't need in this world, it's beyond boxing. I'm totally not on the same page as him.
"There's a lot of 'BS' coming out of his mouth, and I'm not buying it."